The first-year athletes surge through the championship and towards next season
By Peter Melling /// Sports Editor
Following an arduous season, the men’s and women’s swimming teams headed to the Northwest Conference Championship Meet at the Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center in Federal Way, Washington. Superb individual and relay team performances marked the Pioneers’ participation in the championship. Despite the women finishing seventh and the men placing eighth, both squads made a strong statement for future contention in the NWC. What contributed to their strong showing at the finals?
The Pios got into a groove quickly on the first day of the meet. The women’s relay team of Kassie Kometani ’19, Eleanor Gerrior ’19, Carly Chelovitz ’19 and Sofia Koutzoukis ’16 finished third in the 200 yard freestyle relay with a time of 1:39.23. Kometani finished second in the 50 yard freestyle in the A final grouping (which she achieved by placing sixth in the 50 freestyle qualifier earlier in the day) in 24.25. On the men’s side, August Bergh ’19 won the 500 freestyle in the B group in 4:42.39.
The Friday events also saw some impressive finishes from other swimmers. Gerrior won the 50 yard freestyle in 24.82, and Zac Oser ’17 swam a 21.79 at the 50 freestyle B final.
These individual performances carried into Saturday, with Kometani and Bergh each finishing sixth place in the 200 yard freestyle (with times of 1:57.42 and 1:44.98, respectively). Saturday’s successes also included Koutzoukis taking fourth at the 100 backstroke B final with 1:00.75 and Lucia Brammer ’18 and Anna DePaepe ’19 finishing fourth and fifth in the 400 individual medley at times of 4:55.58 and 4:57.72..
Sunday’s events also brought the best out of the teams. Several swimmers set career-best times on that day, with Chelovitz setting a personal-best by winning the 100 freestyle B final in a time of 53.12 and Brammer beating her record in a victory at the 200 butterfly B final in 2:14.53. Bergh not only set a personal-best time at the 1650 freestyle by finishing 16:50.52, but he also broke the school record for the 1,000 split in this event at 9:59.13, beating the 10:01.69 time set by Trevor Schapiro ’15 in 2014.
These strong showings by the rookie and sophomore athletes indicates that the teams’ rebuilding process has started to produce significant results. In an interview with LCPioneers.com at the start of the season, coach Chris Fantz said, “I think [the first-year men] are going to contribute right away. It’s certainly an exciting time for the men’s program, and throughout this year, certainly growth for the future.”
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He also said that the women first year’s are “…excited. I think everybody has bought into our program for training, working hard as a team and feeling really supported by the family around them already.” Not only have these first-year athletes already made significant contributions as Fantz predicted, they have also spearheaded the program towards building a contender in future years.